Archive for September, 2014
This past Saturday I was hanging out at the Astro Motors Club with Frank, Floyd aka “Hawk” and proprietor Dale “Bubba” Richardson. Not present was Melvin, Bo, Harry and other charter members. A fellow named Alfred, former owner of Anacostia Liquors from 1978 – 1993, also stopped by. Alfred didn’t know that Al “Butch” Hopkins had passed. In speaking with distinguished members of the Astro Motors Club I was told that the articles I write are keeping the spirit of Fab Fisher alive. I asked, “Who was Fab Fisher?” Dale, Alfred, and Frank all spoke highly of Fisher and his reporting on Anacostia for the Washington Informer. Here’s an article I discovered, posted in full:
June 6, 1984
FATHER’S DAY in Anacostia on Sunday, June 17, will be a festive day to look forward to. Lots of cards, notes and heart-warming expressions of appreciation will be going to the fellows devoted to playing the role of a real father in the family structure. As usual, the churches will be full on Father’s Day and our ministers will be extolling accolades of blessings for the fathers, young and old, who have and still are abiding by the time-worn adage, “The family that prays together stays together with God’s gift to overcome all family problems in time.” Consequently, Fab Fisher of the Washington Informer Newspaper advises all fathers to spend time with your loved ones on your special day. There are many children with busy fathers, but they would be overjoyed spending a whole day with dad. Wives, preoccupied with housekeeping and child rearing, would be thrilled to hear her hubby say, “Today is Father’s Day. Let’s all go to church as a family.”
ANACOSTIA ANNUAL PARADE is out again this year. Instead, the Friends of the Anacostia Public Library are staging an “A Walk-A-Thon Through Anacostia” on Saturday, June 2, starting at 10 AM at Campbell AME Church. The procession goes through old Anacostia and ends in Anacostia Park. (The rain date is Saturday, June 9).
FLAG DAY, Thursday, June 14, will be observed in the school system. Parents will have an excellent chance to see their children participating in the patriotic outdoor activities on the playgrounds if the weather is permissable.
JIM BERRY’S TV CHANNEL 7 Presentation of “Anacostia — A Capital Shame” was presented during the latter part of the 6 o’clock news cast as a four-part series on Monday, May 14 thru Thursday, May 17. The series ended on Thursday night. Many community involved Anacostians contacted Fab Fisher urging him to watch the series and give an opinion. Unfortunately, Fab Fisher of the Washington Informer had so much other interesting news in last week’s writing until it was necessary to promise a full opinion and revue of Jim Berry’s Anacostia series in this week’s Informer.
PERSONAL COMMENT ON JIM BERRY’s TV SHOW:
JOHN MABEN, former SE Neighborhood House director, was the first spokesperson appearing on the TV screen, which meant the filming was done a month ago because the SENH has an acting director as of May 5. There was also the outspoken Cardell Shelton, along with Anacostia‘s Mr. Tee, Steve Smith, and Frances Johnson. Laura Goldsmith of Barry Farms Tenants spoke of the broken promises in her community. George Curtis was interviewed regarding the lag in housing as he poised beside the big chair in Anacostia. Albert Hopkins of Anacostia Economic Development Corp. talking briefly in front of the Anacostia Med-Pro Bldg., mentioned hopes for more jobs and housing. Housing Director Jim Banks, a native Anacostian talked about the overall lag of housing development in Anacostia.
JIM BERRY, in filming the Anacostia Shame, took his camera out of Anacostia into the Garfield area and interviewed ANC Commissioner Leona Redmond, who produced and talked about promised help from the Mayor’s office for the ‘Alabama Avenue Renaissance Projet.’ On the Wednesday and Thursday series, Jim Berry was back on King and Good Hope showing the deteriorated business spots and existing businesses. Jim Berry was not aware that he repeatedly showed the vacant lot at 1903 and 1905 Martin L. King Avenue right behind Al Morris’ AnacostiaLiquor Store. The particular area once housed the old Hechinger Store, which was torn down and demolished starting Tuesday, January 10 and finished Friday, January 13. Fab Fisher of the Washington Informer wants to personally thank Jim Berry for including that site as part of his four nights TV series on the Anacostia Shame. That Hechinger bldg. was the first three-story police station built in Anacostia, and it was one of the many historic structures registered on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. When the current administration took over eight years ago, Anacostians were promised that historic structures would be rehabed. As it was seen on the TV, the political promises for rehabilitation are shameful examples of deterioration and despair.
JIM BERRY’S TV series on Anacostia not only had a political tinge, but it was restricted to a six-block area touching only Union Temple Church and all its projects. The camera focused on the deteriorating businesses while bypassing the active spots. The idle folk were photographed in 3M Park while the crowded employment and compensation office was avoided. The infamous Rose’s Row frame apartments, which were supposed to be renovated, are still decaying fire traps. Jim Berry never showed the abandoned multi-unit apartment buildings that stand as the shameful windfall drippings of crime and drug trafficking. Incidentally, more will be heard through the media about the Bates housing scandal, but in the meantime, the realtors’ speculation of the apartment renters will be in this column next week. Would you believe the rental cost of a one bedroom apartment with no utilities is hitting the $300.00 monthly figure?
INTERESTING BRIEFS — Albert Mudd, senior on Green Street, is still missing after walking out of his home two months ago. Robert Plummer got a degree in mortuary science at UDC. Plummer has directed Rhines Funeral Home since 1950. Living at 1242 V (next to St. Teresa) Helen Stoner received her UDC degree in English. Tracy Shaw (Virgo), a business management major at Hampton Institute, is working with her father popular Sonny Shaw at Showcase Opticians. Lennie Kushner of Big K Liquors is back on the Big K scene after hospitalization. Lennie thanks all those who were concerned about his illness. Butch Perry is no longer at Big K where Bobby, Andy, Noah, David, Benny, Harvey Moore and Ray Brown are working under Anne Kushner’s supervision. James Maben was supposed to have retired May 5 at SE Neighborhood House, with James Baldwin acting as director, but Maben is still on the scene. Gordon White, a SENH administrator, got his master’s degree last month. Ike Kelly, trustee at Delaware Baptist, is walking with the aid of a cane as a result of a leg injury. John Melvin Barnes, known on Lincoln playground as ‘Penny Cotton’, was funeralized last week.
SAXON DRYCLEANING PLANT at ML King Avenue and You Street (in front of C&W Flower Mart) is undergoing some beautiful policy changes. The new general manager, James D. Hardy, proudly announces that Saxon’s Cleaners has been awarded the drycleaning services contract with Andrew AF Base. In anticipation of the increased workload, Jim is recruiting additional help, which means more jobs for qualifying deserving persons. Special attention will be placed on the disadvantaged qualified people. In the meantime, Jim Hardy is making room for more work by staging a special sale on Saturday morning, June 9. Weather permitting, it will be an outdoor sidewalk first-come-first-served sale. Saxon’s Cleaners already has outlets at 8 & K SE, Natl. Institute Bldg., Govt. Acct. Office and Agricultural Bldg. in addition to Andrew AFB. Ora Jackson is plant manager, with Marcene Mackey as quality control manager. “Pee Wee” Williams, an expert presser, has been with the shop since its start.
ANACOSTIA CYCLE SHOP was well represented last week when both Ernest Rowe and Jeffrey Johnson rode their bikes to Hendley Elementary School where, as guests of teacher Beulah Smith and principal Clark G. Stewart, Enrest and Jeff demonstrated safe bicycle riding and lectured on “career in cycling.’
AL ‘ZEKE’ BRISCOE is part of Bishop P.J. Byrne Council 3877 sponsoring a benefit party for Hospital for Sick Children Sunday, June 3 at Byrne Manor. Icky Tillman and Mary Jefferson are appearing with Dohn Jefferson Quartet. Info 638-7300.
PATRICIA ANDREA CARTER, daughter of former Ballou principal ‘Biff’ Carter, graduated ‘cum laude’ from Virginia State with a degree in biology. Sallie Jones, secy. at Anacostia Senior Center, served as DC delegate for Nat’l Red Cross meet, San Antonio, Tex. Linda Tolbert of Ballou High won top honors as a hurdler in the recent Coolidge Track meet. Linda is vying for the national trials in California. Potornac River Fest takes place Fri., Sat. and Sun., June 8, 9 and 10. Anacostia Historical Society meets Sat., Jun. 9, at museum. Fab, always on hand at 561-4100.
In the past two years I have received a significant volume of unsolicited emails from descendants of families that owned businesses, land and people in the immediate and surrounding environs of old Anacostia, previously old Prince George’s County. I’ve also heard from former residents of the German Orphanage on Good Hope Road. Many of these people are searching for a history which has only been sparingly and selectively told. William and I are not able to tell an exhaustive history of Old Anacostia but it will be the history of the lost tribes, a history yet told. B
Below is an example of the messages we’ve been fortunate and thankful to receive.
I was viewing some of your materials on the net as I was researching Good Hope Road and the many direct ancestors of mine that lived out there along with many cousins and associated families. The main line goes through Tom Anderson with his blacksmith shop across from the tavern and his house up on the hill. He is my third great grandfather on my Dad’s side. His second wife was Martha Mitchell, daughter of Sarah Ann Jenkins (m1 Joseph Boiseau, m2 Richard Mitchell, m3 George Arthur Smoot).
Some of the ancestors and relations are Captain William T Anderson (grandson of Tom) of MPD; cousin Lingan B Anderson of MPD; James T Boiseau (son of Sarah’s first marriage), Notley Anderson (son of Tom); Charles F Anderson (grandson of Tom) who was postmaster at Little America, Antarctica on the 2nd Byrd expedition; Richard Boiseau(grandson of Sarah’s first marriage), a reporter who covered the Surratt trial watching a cousin put on trial for a most heinous crime. Many more Andersons can be found in the area who I place as brothers of Tom and their descendants. John Anderson of Anacostia, another blacksmith who is a son of Tom and it looks like maybe the Rambler had a couple photos of him.
The Good Hope Tavern looks to have passed through family hands and associated families. I believe when it was called Smoot’s Tavern that at that time it was in the hands of Sarah Ann Jenkins (m3 to George Arthur Smoot). I know later it was called Jenkins Tavern but I am not sure if it went into Sarah’s brother’s hands. His name was Thomas Jenkins with wife Charity who the Surratts lived with when their house burned down. I think it was his Tavern at some point since I believe I saw it associated with a T J Jenkins and he lived in the area. Some details I am still trying to nail down or better document. I guess later, the Vermillions owned it since I see articles and pictures on that. The extended Andersons do have the Vermillions as an affiliated family although I have nothing yet to indicate these Vermillion as closely related.
I still need to build better connections but do believe this line extends back through Captain Richard Anderson of the Maryland line in the Revolutionary War.
On my Dad’s other side was a liquor runner, Paul Schweitzer, who lived at and worked for Jimmy Lafontaine at the gambling joint. Pardon me, I meant to say Men’s Athletic Club or something like that. Dad would comment that as a boy, he would buy donuts from a neighbor who made them and take the donuts up to the club where his Dad worked and sale the donuts for a lot more making some decent change in those days for a young boy.
To the Editor of The Evening Star:
I have been much interested in the roadside sketches running through the Saturday STARS, and being an old resident of the District am familiar with most of the localities spoken of. Your correspondent has been misinformed as to the first house built in Uniontown. My father (Thomas Perkins) built the first house in 1854, the frame owned by Mr. Geo F. Pyles. The old brick houses adjoining were built by Robt. Martin about 1865. The old brick house occupied by Weigel’s bakery was the fourth house. It was built by a German baker from Baltimore, who peddled bread and cakes all through the county.
The town was originally named Uniontown. Myself, Robt. Martin and Lawyer J. R. McConnell caused the town to be called Anacostia in 1868 by petition to the Postmaster General (Hon. Horatio King) for the change of the name of the post office to Anacostia post office, Uniontown, D.C. and gradually the Uniontown went out of use. This petition was made because many letters came to the office, which should have been sent to Uniontown, Md., or Uniontown, Ala. Anacostia was suggested to us by the name of the Eastern Branch, which was named after the tribe of Indians who lived in this vicinity. Again, John Fox lived on the heights, one-quarter of a mile east of the Douglass mansion, he is not dead, but living on Fayette Street, Baltimore, engaged in the real estate business. I had a letter from him some time ago (he was guardian to my sisters). My father worked Uniontown as a garden long before Messrs. Fox & Vanhook bought it from Mr. Tucker. I lived there and in the immediate vicinity long before the war and until recently.
Very truly yours,
GEORGE W. PERKINS
December 7, 1891. 709 A street northeast.
Evening Star, 7 December, 1891, p. 10
The site of the “old Indian fort” as reflected in the early records of the Maryland General Assembly and the focus of subsequent scholarship and archaeological investigations was likely within this panorama.